WELD Artist of the Week: Natasha Cooks

Career:  Producer
Website:  BrokeDivasGuide.com (Coming soon!)
Mantra(s):  Fall down seven times, stand up eight. —Asian Proverb
Interview by: Kristin Read

20 Questions with Natasha Cooks

1. IT Engineer turned Producer? Please elaborate!
I’ve always wanted to produce documentaries and thoughtful programming, but my parents wanted me to major in Math or Engineering, so that is what I did.  A couple of years later, I was pregnant with Adrian. I didn’t want to struggle too much as a single mother, so after some taking some time off I decided to take some IT courses and have been doing that for the last several years.

2. What’s an interesting Natasha fact that few are aware of?  
I love one hit wonders, and hits from the 70’s and 80’s.  Sometimes I will sing (or wail, whatever your perspective is) when I am alone in Studio B at WELD.

3. Seeing as you majored in engineering, I’m assuming all you’ve learned about production is self-taught?  
Actually, I volunteered with Dallas Community TV several years ago.  And in 2011, I enrolled in a local Digital Film Production Certificate at MediaTech Institute. There, I learned everything from grip work, to special effects, to the business of production, and produced my first student film named “Gone.”

4. Name one life goal you are determined to see come to fruition.
I would like to bike the Hotter’n Hell 100 (HH100) next year.

5. How does it feel to have mastered using both hemispheres of your brain so eloquently?
I haven’t mastered either hemisphere (smile).  I just do the best I can. Also, I find the most talented people I can to make up for all of my shortcomings.

6. How do you manage juggling such different career titles?  
I pray a lot . . . And you just do what you have to in order to pursue your dream even if it takes a little longer to bring to fruition.

7. What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make to make this new venture a possibility?  
Allowing my team to take the lead on portions of the project.  I am so used to doing things myself all of the time, it was hard to let go.

8. What’s been the coolest part of this new shift in your world?  
My stress level has gone down.  I have met awesome people (especially the WELDers), and have been working the creative part of my brain.

9. Do you ever see yourself taking the leap into one or the other FT, or are you content as it stands currently?  
Definitely. My goal is to transition to production full-time when my son heads to college. That’s 3-4 years out.

10. [I believe this is always a fair question to ask at any age…] What do you want to be when you grow up?!  
(Laughing.) The best Natasha I can be.

11. Any cool projects currently in the works? [What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?]  
I’m currently working on a web comedy series called, “The Broke Diva’s Survival Guide.” We’re also building a blog, budget app, and a kindle book, which will offer everyday financial advice, tentatively titled “The Broke People’s Survival Guide.” Another project very close to my heart is an action/police short film I’ve written called Helpdesk. Its underlying issue brings awareness to the rise in child sex trafficking (as Dallas is ranked number four in the nation for the crime).

12. How do you successfully balance two professions and mommy-hood? What’s the give and take?  
I don’t know if I successfully balance anything.  Adrian has always been my first priority, but what I try to do is include him in my work as much as I can. He is very involved with my work, pursuing photography and filmmaking on his own.

13. Does your son want to follow your career path? How do you go about encouraging him through the self-discovery/adolescent phase?  
He would like to create documentaries as well.  Adrian has a heart for the voiceless and overlooked children in society.

14. Where do you hope to be in 5 or even 50 years?  
In 5 years, I hope to complete 10 pieces of compelling, and informational work. 10-15 years, I would be perfectly content learning how to surf, and selling T-Shirts on Kauai Beach. I jest, but you get the picture.

15. What’s been the most fulfilling part of your career thus far? The biggest mistake you’ve learned from?  
The most fulfilling thing is the mentorship that comes from working with local professionals and students who are lacking in hope for their lives. The biggest mistake I have made is rushing into new projects. I’m learning to slow down and practice patience.

16. What’s on your go-to gear list?  
My iPad and my laptop. It’s simple, but I have all of the books and information I need on hand.

17. What excites you about being involved in the WELD community?
The WELDers have been absolutely wonderful!  Very supportive...I am so glad be part of the WELD community (even though they may just see me on weekends).

18. Any quirky habits you have that even embarrass yourself?
I ramble a lot....

19. When all is said and done, what do you hope to have etched on your headstone?
Well done.”

20. Anything else you’d like to add/mention?  
If anybody is interested in curling, I would like to start a curling team. Hit me up!